Baby Einstein children's health

Kids Still Watching T.V. Despite Research Findings

A couple of weeks ago I posted a warning from a psychologist claiming that the television is “the greatest unacknowledged health threat of our time” with 15 separate risks to couch potato children.

It is a big enough issue because it is back in the news again.

CBC news tells us that:

By the time children are two years old, 90 per cent of them regularly spend time watching TV, DVDs and videos, U.S. researchers have found.

The American Pediatric Society recommends children under two should not watch any TV, and previous studies suggest less viewing time may be important in developing vocabulary. The Canadian Pediatric Society also warns that too much TV is linked to problems with attention, learning and aggressive behaviour.

“For the kids under the age of three, the biggest thing is that they should be interacting verbally,” said Dr. Sarah Shea, head of the child development clinic at the IWK Children’s Health Centre in Halifax, commenting on the study.

“When the TV is on, people don’t talk to each other in a meaningful way. They don’t look at each other when they do talk, except to say things like, ‘Be quiet.'”

At 29 per cent, the top reason parents gave for putting their babies in front of TVs was they believed the programs they chose were good for the child’s brain.

The second most cited reason, at 23 per cent, was that parents believed their baby enjoyed watching or it was relaxing for them. Another 21 per cent of parents said it gave them time to get things done while the child was entertained.

“These results suggest that the widespread notion that parents turn to television only as an electronic babysitter is a misconception,” the researchers concluded. More than half of the time, parents said they watched with their children.

“Parents are clearly hungry for truly educational content for children younger than two years. More research is urgently required to determine whether it is realistic to produce genuinely educational content for children younger than two years, and, if so, what it would be.”

About 40 per cent of infants by the age of three months regularly watched TV, DVDs and videos, according to the study. At the age of two, 90 per cent of children were watching, averaging more than 1.5 hours a day.

Researchers believe that parents think that there is an educational value with some T.V. shows. A recent study revealed that video’s, such as Baby Einstein, will not increase you child’s I.Q. any, despite the title.

For children under three, the best ways to help develop their brain is by talking, reading and playing with them — activities that are less passive than watching TV, she suggested.


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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